Woo Lae Oak is a Korean restaurant and bar located on Leesburg Pike in Vienna, near Tyson’s Corner. It is probably one of the largest and most frequented Korean restaurants in the DC area and I’m conflicted because on the one hand, I love the fact that they are bringing Korean food to the mainstream crowd in DC. On the other hand, I find the prices to be a little ridiculous considering the overall quality.
Cost – $$$
Service – C
The service at Korean restaurants is never that great unless you are Korean. That’s the cold, hard truth. At the same time if you can say a few words in Korean when you get there, it makes all the difference in the world no matter how poorly it comes out. Seriously – try saying “annyong haseyo” (greetings) to your waiter or waitress when yous it down and I guarantee they will laugh and warm up to you. When they are finished taking your order, try saying “kamsa hamnida” (thank you) and that will score even more points. All in all though, the service at Woo Lae Oak is pretty mediocre.
Food – C
The food isn’t as good as a place like Han Sung Oak and is as pricey as it gets in the DC area. In fact, the prices are more than what I paid at most Korean restaurants in London and that is factoring in the pound. For all the money you pay, you would expect to get mouth watering meal but the food is pretty run-of-the mill. The banchan is pretty puny and I had the doenjang jigge and wasn’t terribly impressed. I’ve also tried the kalbi here and it is good but nothing to write home about.
Decor – B+
Most Korean places are spartan so the fact that they make an effort at Woo Lae Oak to provide a great decor is even more evident. The place feels like a nice restaurant and there is plenty of privacy to be had throughout the large venue.
Feel – B+
As I mentioned in the preface, it is hard to really lambaste the place because they do a good job making a Korean restaurant appealing for western aesthetics. Woo Lae Oak is definitely a place you would want to take your family or go for a business lunch (if not for the smell of meat that will inevitably pervade your clothes and the gas that will pervade your stomach). There is also a bar area where you can go to grab a few drinks while you wait. Overall, it is definitely a place I would go with a group of people or if I were in the area, but if you are seeking top-notch Korean food there are other venues in Northern Virginia to hit up.
What’s the Buzz:
October 25, 2007 – Woo Lae Oak (Korean) Tysons Corner (WhereInDC) – I haven’t had Korean in many (many) years so I didn’t remember if I liked it or not. So when I went to Woo Lae Oak, based on the recommendation of a friend, I thought it was truly outstanding. However, I went to the one in Pentagon City, not Tysons. Unfortunately, I heard from a friend that the one in Pentagon City closed down. So I’m going to recommend Tysons. Full article…
February 18, 2006 – Woo Lae Oak (Tarting It Up) – I don’t want to appear tacky by name-dropping my professional successes, but well, maybe just this once. I was once a cashier at Bed Bath and Beyond. Twice, actually. Don’t believe me? Lemme rock a little Bed, Bath and Beyond harmony for you. Full article…